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North Korea's Kim Jong Un Boasts Removal Of 'Factionalist Filth'

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In this image taken from video, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends an event to mark the second anniversary of the death of his father, former leader Kim Jong Il, in Pyongyang, North Korea Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/KRT via AP Video) TV OUT, NORTH KOREA OUT | ASSOCIATED PRESS

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is boasting of internal strength in the new year because of the elimination of "factionalist filth" — a reference to his once powerful uncle and mentor, who was purged and executed last month.

Kim made the comments Wednesday in a public speech that will be closely scrutinized for clues about the opaque country's intentions and policy goals.

Analysts are divided about what Jang Song Thaek's execution means, but many believe it shows Kim Jong Un has yet to establish the same absolute power that his father and grandfather enjoyed.

This year's annual New Year's message by the North has added significance because of the elimination of Jang for alleged treason. The purge was one of the biggest political developments in the country in years.

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